Two Copies

Authors love to get a box full of their latest title from the publisher. But there’s nothing like walking into the bookstore and seeing your new book on the rack. We tend to rearrange shelves, maximizing our exposure and usually making certain books by our friends also receive prominent treatment.

As you know, Iron Man: Femme Fatales officially went on sale this week. Yesterday, I headed over to the Fairfield Borders ready to check it out. Imagine my surprise not being able to find it. I asked a friend who works there to check the inventory.

Sure enough, the computer says they received two copies and were likely still in a box of new releases still in the basement awaiting stocking. Let me repeat: two copies were ordered for my hometown store.

While we were checking inventory, I asked about next week’s Batman Vault. Well, it turns out they received three copies back on September 21. He showed me that all area stores received three, which strikes me as limited given its holiday gift-giving appeal, but what do I know?

I then asked about Kirsten Beyer’s new Star Trek: Voyager novel, which also went on sale Tuesday. I wanted to buy it and couldn’t find it on the shelf.  He checked and informed me the one copy the store received is in the same box in the basement.

If you ever thought media tie-in writers do this to get rich, please think again. No one gets rich on selling two copies per store regardless of how many stores there are in the country.

8 comments

  • DMcCunney

    Rich? You make the advance. Royalties are a miracle because god was in a good mood.

    And ordering is done by a buyer at HQ with little regard for local stores. An old friend used to manage a bookstore in a small chain, and described her frustration, because ordering was done by the HQ store, whose customers had completely different buying habits than hers. “You want my sales to improve? Order the books *my* customers buy and read.” Getting across differences in local demographics and buying patterns was an uphill battle.

    It’s the same elsewhere, as far as I can see. With luck, Amazon.com will be your friend.

  • Laurie Rozakis

    Bob,
    You are so lucky that TWO copies were ordered. Often, my local store gets one copy at a time and if that sells, they get another copy. A Dan Brown display we don’t get!

  • Since print runs these days (except for books by big names like Dan Brown, James Patterson, and =ahem= Sarah Palin) are in the “high four-figures,” the publishers don’t have more than a couple of copies per store.

  • Duane

    See, this is just the sort of thing that discourages fledgling writers.

  • Do you have a Barnes & Noble or an indie bookstore in your town? Maybe you can set up a book signing at either one of those places. (I don’t think Borders does signings, but I could be wrong.) Maybe that would get some people in and books sold.

  • Sarah Palin gets four-figure print runs‽

    TANJ!

  • I can name two or three indie bookstores scattered across Ottawa, serving various audience segments, if you’re of a mind to travel northward.

  • Allie Mucha

    While in my local Barnes & Noble down in NJ this afternoon, I saw four copies of ‘Batman Vault’ located rather prominently on one of the three tables right in front of the main entrance. I thought you may be pleased to hear that at least some stores are keeping them out and available where customers can find them!

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